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Author Topic: Icom IC-718 vs. FT-990 or IC-781  (Read 1348 times)
KC0VEJ
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Posts: 25




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« on: December 04, 2005, 07:49:57 AM »

I know this is one of those hard, if not impossible, questions to answer, but here goes anyway. I have an Icom IC-718. I use it primarily for cw, and some ssb. The radio works fine and I like it. The only thing I don't like is the menus and maybe the audio quality, so I'm considering some older radios (with actual knobs!)  I was looking at an FT-990 and an IC-751A. Would there be any advantages to these radios over my IC-718 (sensitivity, operating ease, selectivity, audio quality, etc.)?  By the time I installed the CW filter, the 751A and 718 cost about the same, but the 990 would be more expensive.  Any advice would really be appreciated!  - Ethan
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2005, 08:14:56 AM »

The IC-751A and FT-990 were two of my favorite rigs, and I've owned them both.  Either will "blow away" the performance of the IC-718 in many respects; however, in terms of both user comforts and overall performance including "audio" (transmitted modulation quality), the FT-990 has it all over the IC-751A (or the IC-718, obviously).

The FT-990 is a really fine rig and has held its value well because of that.  It has excellent modulation quality, and works well on CW, too.  It's a "larger" radio that will take up more space than either of the Icoms, but I like that for "home station" operation -- it means more front-panel controls that are useful, and larger controls, with a larger display that's easier to read.

The FT-1000D is the best thing Yaesu ever made until the recent introduction of the FTDX9000 (which is in the $7K-12K range), but the FT-990 used a lot of the FT-1000D ideas and circuits and thus is a classic.

I've never heard an IC-751A on the air that sounds as good as an FT-990.  And I'm a big Icom fan, so this isn't a slam at the company -- it's just reality.

WB2WIK/6
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KC0VEJ
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Posts: 25




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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2005, 10:43:31 AM »

Thanks for the advice, Steve. That's exactly the information I was looking for. - Ethan
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K7UNZ
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Posts: 691




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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2005, 04:55:14 PM »

Just to let you know that the '990 also comes stock with a 500 hz filter, and all filters are selectable independant of mode.  Also has a built-in power supply, although some models were available as ac/12v compatable, and I believe there was a 12v only model as well.

Bought mine in the summer of '91, use it daily, and haven't had a lick of trouble with it.  Still my #1 radio!

73, Jim/k7unz

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K7VO
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Posts: 1010




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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2005, 08:27:04 AM »

I think the advice you received from Steve, WB2WIK, and John, NE0P, is excellent.  I've never owned an FT-990 but I did have an FT-650 (6m/10m/12m rig) which shared a lot of technology with the FT-990 and it was a superb rig, one I regret ever selling.  

The Icom IC-751A had one of the best receivers in its day and I always liked that rig.  John's point about the shortcomings in the design (both of which are pretty easily overcome) are valid.  You can often ask a current owner who is selling the rig if the trimmer cap mod has been done.  That's the big issue with the IC-751A.

Your title included the Icom IC-781, which was a truly superb rig.  If you meant to include it that is certainly one radio you can't go wrong with.

Oh, and yes, all of these will easily outperform your little IC-718 despite their age.  The QRM fighting tools offered by these rigs and lacking on the '718 will be a real eye opener for you.

73,
Caity
K7VO/9
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KB0ETC
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Posts: 248




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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2005, 07:01:18 AM »

I once had a Yaesu FT-990 as well, this was my first real contest radio.  It shared the bench with the infamous FT-1000D.  I found myself using the FT-990 as much as the 1000D.

Great radio, I wish it were still here today.  If you can find one they are great radios!
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AB7Q
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Posts: 9




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« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2005, 09:56:47 AM »

 The advice here is sound as it relates to the 751 and the 990. Your price range puzzles me however. There is a large spread between the 751 and the 990, and a larger one between the 990 and 781. You are looking at $400-$500 for a nice 751a, $750-$850 for the 990, and in the $2000 range for the 781. There are many radios to consider in all of these ranges, and vast differences in performance and features. How much are you willing to spend?

Dave
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WB9YCJ
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Posts: 280




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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2006, 11:35:47 AM »

I have owned and used the FT-990.
I currently own and use my second IC-781 after mistakenly selling the first.
I didnt like the the receiver I.F. and A.F. hisss-s-s in the FT-990.

>>>This "hiss" is a FT-990 design matter documented in the ARRL review of the 990.<<<<

I still have good discernable hearing at my pre
baby-boomer age perhaps unlike some FT-990 users.
It became very fatiguing after an hour of listening to the 990 receiver - especially with "cans" on.
It seems to me, many of the hams here on Eham who give the 990 high praise do so while not realizing or considering the built-in hiss-s-s.
Some have said "What hiss?" - thats perhaps they may be accustomed to tolerating this junk after years of listening to equipment with similiar audio hiss. This is one of the things that makes the "Soundsweet" speaker sell well - it rolls the "crap" off appx above 5 Khz. If you wish to tolerate the hiss, I suggest a 990 DC model as some have sold or auctioned at the $500 to $600 range. Actually we can open Pandora's box with other good values in the sub 1K area, ie IC-765.
73,
Ken
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SANBORN_EX_AD9DX
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Posts: 5




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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2006, 01:16:15 PM »

 - Like you, I was on the prowl a while back for a high quality rig at an entry level price.
 I asked, listened around, and sat behind as many Kw's, IC's, & Ysu's as possible. I even lived with an FT-990 for nearly a month. Liked it.
 I couldn't find friendly prices and read too many less than glowing reviews for TT's so I passed.
 I ended up with the big brother to the IC-751A, the IC-761. It sports a built-in AT, PS, TCXO, and to me, 'SLIGHTLY' better performance than the IC-751A which I also own and love.
 I agree with the hisssss.ssssss.sssss characteristics of the FT-990, but the SSB TX audio is warm and rich.
 The iCOM audio is also very nice, and I have no misgivings to that, (even with regard to this tube-lonvin' audio tweaker's hearing)- when in comparison to the best offerings from Kw.

 I don't agree with the report that the FT-990 is superior to the IC-751A, and in my book, even the FT-1000D beats it not.

 One thing you'll want to look into if you end up with a Yaesu is the noise blanker mod, helps quiet and clean up the receive.

73
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SANBORN_EX_AD9DX
Member

Posts: 5




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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2006, 01:25:32 PM »

 - - - - Follow up to my post above - - - -

 I forgot to mention that you should factor-in the cost of a trip to Scott Malcolm at MTS Electronics repair for the cap upgrade and a new non-volatile RAM board.
 These being done, the rig is a definite workhorse and endearing keeper.

73
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